Dear Supporters of President Trump – November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

Dear Supporters of President Trump, my fellow Americans,

Sigh, this is a really hard letter to write but I hope you read it. I see, read and hear your pain upon learning that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election. Many people have felt that shock, disbelief and worry before and others will feel it in the future. It’s hard to accept the truth and easy to suspect that shenanigans in the voting process spoiled your vision of what will happen in the next four years. Suspected shenanigans are not the same as facts and wishes don’t make things true. However, it is true that it takes time to mourn your loss. President Trump has had more than a week to sit shiva and so have you. You tear your clothes, cover the mirrors, be comforted by others and tell stories about your memories. You are free from your regular work and eat meals provided by the kind people around you by ordering in and supporting local restaurants. Then you return to your daily life. Trump has not had any public events for more than two weeks nor have there been any daily briefings or public communications other than his tweets. Neither he nor Pence have mentioned the explosion of positive tests for the virus, hospitalizations, deaths and pleas from medical workers for help. I understand your pain is being expressed with anger but please move on with life. It doesn’t mean that you stop crying or wailing about your loss, but it doesn’t mean you prevent the future from happening.

I understand that you supported President Trump for different reasons that I can respect even as I disagree. Some of you were thrilled with tax cuts and increases in the stock market even if about 90% of our population is not invested in the stock market nor had any significant benefit from the tax cuts. Some of you love this administration for policies on immigration while others are disgusted by these same policies. Some of you love that the American Embassy was moved to Jerusalem and that certain Arab states are signing treaties with Israel that benefit both parties. Some of you are passionate about the issue of abortion and it’s the main reason you supported the Republican ticket. Some of you love the name calling and undiplomatic language used by our president. It is your right to vote on your beliefs and it is fundamental to our democracy to choose the party and platform that best represents those beliefs.As I watched the scenes from the MAGA group in Washington last week, I thought, “these people are really grieving”. They were passionate and angry and totally convinced that their version of the truth was real. It’s not. They made accusations that voting systems “changed votes”, that “dead people voted”, that “illegal votes were cast” and there was a grand conspiracy across states that involved “a deep state”, “The Media” and “Facebook”. How sad and how absurd. I beg you to look at some news sources that include actual facts.

Do you remember Superman? I mean the tv show, not the comic books. Remember that he stood for “Truth, Justice and The American Way”? Please don’t hate your fellow Americans for voting for their candidates and their platforms. Truth can depend on many things, but facts are provable. Justice means that our laws apply equally to all of us and guilt needs to be proven. The American Way is democracy in action. We vote for our choices. We look out for our neighbors. We care for our environments. We educate our children, and we try to be civil and respectful of others. Please continue to work for your ideas but respect that others’ opinions also matter. That applies to “both sides” where there are “good people”.

Thank you for reading my letter and I look forward to hearing from you. Please, no threats and no swearing.

Dear Dr. Scott Atlas – November 16, 2020

November 16, 2020

Dear Dr. Scott Atlas,

I understand you are a member of the President’s Corona Virus Task Force team. So, just to be clear, you are not the Surgeon General of the United States nor are you the leader of this team, nor are you an infectious disease specialist. You are, however, one of the most prolific tweeters on the team. Recently you tweeted, “Masks work? NO”, in spite of the advice of all the rest of the health experts in the world.

Late last night, after Governor Whitmer put into effect new public health measures for Michigan, you tweeted “The only way this stops, is if people rise up. You get what you accept.” # FreedomMatters and # “StepUp.Here’s what I have to say, WAY TO GO! What I mean is, find the nearest exit and GO! Those two tweets plus your promotion of the dangerous belief that so called “herd immunity” will be all the protection we need, indicate that you should GO, immediately! Look, there are a couple of reasons why you should go. The current president and the current vice president, the one who used to be in charge of the team, have already quit so you can quit too. Just follow in their footsteps, but maybe wear a mask and stay 6 feet behind them. Here’s another reason; your tweet about encouraging “the people” to “rise up” could be seen as a call for violence. If, heaven forbid, that did occur, you might be held liable for inciting violence. If you quit the team now you could look for a lawyer to advise you on this matter. If you decide to use the lawyers the president uses, you know, Guilliani and Barr, then all I can say is good luck. Otherwise, check out the names on the benches at bus stops or the back of packages of matches or even on your local Craigslist. I’m sure you can find a better lawyer than those two.

As I think more about this issue, I’d like to thank you for using the idea in your tweets that freedom does matter, and we do need to step up. Putting on a mask in public, washing hands and sanitizing, staying away from crowds, keeping indoor groups to just the family you live with and trying to keep socially distant from others you do not live with, are actions that are about freedom. Can you imagine the political prisoners in other countries who have been jailed, tortured or killed think wearing a mask means you have lost your freedom? If you think losing your freedom is about not going to the bars, the gyms and indoors to restaurants, I have solutions for that. Walk in your neighborhood or at a park, buy some beer or better yet, spirits (from Mammoth Distillery or Three Chords Distillery), order a to go meal from your favorite restaurant or open a can of beans. It’s the families of children of school age, college kids, essential workers and people living in assisted living and nursing facilities who have lost their freedom due to the rampant spread of the virus from people following your advice.

Please, just go.

Dear Mr. McConnell, Cruz and Graham – November 13, 2020

November 13, 2020

Dear Current Majority Leader McConnell, Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Lindsey Graham,

I’d love to tell you how much I admire your love of our country, your democratic belief in our institutions and your loyalty and obeisance to our current president. Unfortunately, I cannot. You are all very smart people and extremely knowledgeable politicians, but your role as leaders in our democracy is obscene. Your tactics of supporting the fallacy that there was corruption, fraud, or a grand scheme of “stealing” an election and allowing the present administration to refuse cooperation with the incoming Biden-Harris administration is deplorable and dangerous. So far, there have been no credible court cases brought to challenge illegality in the state elections. All “legal” ballots are counted or still being counted. The results are in. Georgia can do a recount but even if a 14,000 plus votes are somehow overturned, the end results will not change, and you know that.Current Majority Leader McConnell, how kind of you to continue to support the president in his time of grief. However, it does seem that you are more worried about his mental state than the smooth transfer of power from one administration to another. Do you remember saying “Our main goal is to make President Obama a One Term President”? That was at least a very honest if also a non-patriotic statement. It’s probably your plan now as well. You accomplished stacking the courts with conservative judges, so kudos on that. You’ve blocked continuing support for a large number of our citizens and businesses, so no kudos on that. Your efforts to keep your power and block the power of Democrats is great politics for you but terrible for the country.

As far as you two, Senators Cruz and Graham, I have nothing but contempt for your dishonesty and fake rage against anything Democrats do. Senator Cruz, your efforts to praise the president while absolving him of his disrespect of you, your father and your wife, is simply unforgivable. Senator Graham, your words and promises have already been shown to be lies, self-serving, not serving the needs of the country. Do you really think you will continue to golf at Mara-Lago or any of the other properties belonging to you know who? Do you at least get a discount on a round?

I’m not asking for you three to be the kind of leaders we need at this time, but I do ask you to review your oaths of office that include the phrase “defend the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic”.

Dear Mrs. Trump III – November 11, 2020

November 11, 2020

Dear Mrs. Trump, the III,

There’s so much hullabaloo around your husband’s lack of ability to graciously concede the election to VP/President Elect Biden, that I wondered if anyone is asking how you are doing. So, how are you doing? I wonder if you are super sad, relieved or just worried about your husband’s mental state. His aides and other lackeys seem to be very concerned about him. Apparently, you and Jarod have tried to explain to him the need to move on past the election, but he isn’t “ready” to hear that yet. What if he heard other news that upset him like, g-d forbid, there was an incoming attack on our homeland or aliens have just landed? Would he not be “ready” to hear that either? It’s kind of the job to be ready for anything. The good news is that the bad news about his loss is not the end of the world for most of the country even if the outcome of the election saddened 70 million or so. I’m sure you will be okay, and your son and parents will be okay and, eventually, your husband will adjust to his retirement.

You probably already know that he and I were in a pen pal relationship for almost 8 months. Don’t worry if he never told you about the letters; he probably didn’t tell you about a lot of other relationships or letters or things like that. NOTHING was going on that could worry you. All I did was try and share some advice with him based on my own experiences in life, what was happening in the news and general common sense. He didn’t listen to me just like he doesn’t listen to anyone.

I hope you are thinking ahead and planning your move. You will need to find a moving company because I don’t think your husband can lift the furniture and put it in a moving van, pack up his stuff, or help with any other details and don’t forget the golden toilet. What about your son’s schooling? Sure, he’s learning remotely now but do you want him to transfer schools and leave friends again? He could stay in Washington and live with another family when the students go back to school in person. I also wonder and worry about you and your future plans. If you move to Florida and don’t play golf, what will you do? I guess you could always write a memoir of your time as the First Lady and your work with the Be Best Program. Michelle made a ton of money with her memoir and you know how hungry people are for your words. I sincerely wish you good luck in all your future endeavors.

Dear Mr. President – November 10, 2020

November 10, 2020

Dear Mr. (you only have until January 20, 2021, then you will be former President) President,

I have a number of issues, concerns, and thoughts to discuss with you today. Since you have had not public events in almost a week and no public statements, I am going to guess you are doing the following things: 1) trying to get courts to do your bidding, 2) getting AGBarr to do your bidding, 3) hiring a moving company to take your stuff to Florida, 4) firing as many people as you possibly can. But what I want to discuss is our personal relationship.

I thought we had a good relationship; you know, the kind where we could openly and truthfully express our opinions and emotions. It turns out that we do not have that type of relationship. It’s been mostly one-sided. I tried and tried to offer you advice, support, and understanding but you rejected all my advice, don’t want my support and understanding you became a ridiculous full- time job. You are unable to have a mutually respectful relationship with other people. It’s all one way. Either you are unconditionally obedient, respectful and worshipped or you are banished from the room, the job, your intimate circle.

This has become an abusive relationship where no matter what I did, it was never enough. Hey, isn’t that similar to the name of your niece’s book, Too Much and Never Enough? She says your meltdowns will continue to consume you, but you can’t change what is happening right now; you can only try and destroy more. Remember the story about you going to a birthday party when you were a child and putting your fist through the birthday cake? I think you are doing the equivalent of that now by firing everyone you can from our national security agencies, refusing to cooperate with the Transition Teams, and keeping “your people” from accepting the results of a free and fair election. You are acting like a spoiled brat who can’t even share a birthday cake with others. Your behavior,” is a model for what we teach our children NOT TO DO!

In short, I’m breaking up with you. Maybe we can have some kind of communication/relationship in the future but right now I’m not sure that would be productive. Let me think some more about how harmful that might be. I know the polite way to say that is “it’s not you, it’s me” but that’s not true. It is you.

Dear Mr. President – November 7, 2020

November 7, 2020

Dear Mr. President,

I hope you are able to read this letter even if your eyes are bloodshot from crying. People are partying, dancing in the streets, banging pots and pans and honking horns and full of joy. But there is no joy in Mudville tonight, is there? How sad for you and your supporters. When the pundits on tv ask “What now?”, I know your answer is “I’m going to fight this fake news”. Don Jr., a devoted son the likes no one has ever seen, maybe the most devoted son EVER, pleads for you to go to “total war”. Your top- notch lawyer, Rudy, continues to sound like, well, like Rudy. Your former advisor, and possible future cellmate, Steve Bannon, seems to have lost his own head.

Look, a loss like this is going to take some time to sink in. Surely you have had tough situations to deal with before now. I’ve sent a number of ideas about how to cope with stress and anxiety and you must have some ideas of your own. I certainly hope Melania and Jarrod and Ivanka are there for you. Use a punching bag or pillow to help with your anger, don’t hit or throw anything at them. Everyone knows this is super hard for you and everyone knows that you have to do some things you don’t want to do for the sake of the country. You should do them tomorrow, but it will be okay if you wait until Monday night. I’ve added a congratulatory phone call to President Elect Biden to your homework assignment. If you do not complete this assignment, you may be sent to the Principal’s Office or to Mitch McConnell’s, or worse. He and the assistant principals may come to your office to see you. Remember when Barry Goldwater and a group of senators came to see Nixon?

Get some sleep tonight. Here’s a song that can help you relax. Cross your arms and hold the crossed arms of your family while standing in a circle. Sing Taps. “Day is done, gone the sun, from the lake, from the hills, from the sky. All is well, safely rest, G-d is nigh.

Dear Mr. (Current) President – November 6, 2020

November 6, 2020

Dear Mr. (current) President,

You know that I’ve always been honest with you so please, take this letter in that same spirit of honesty. You are losing this election and all your “nareshkite”, that’s Yiddish for “foolishness”, will not change the truth. You ask for the vote count to continue in one state where you may gain some votes and go ahead but, stop the vote counts in other states where VPBiden seems to be winning. You can’t say that Republican poll watchers have to watch the counting of ballots with binoculars when there are equal numbers of both Republican and Democratic poll watchers located in the same area and none of them need binoculars. You apparently can yell that there is fraud and cheating but only in states or areas where VPBiden is ahead, but that doesn’t make the accusations true. We are in need of TRUTH and HONESTY. You can try to make accusations and direct your lawyers to go to court but the judges have rejected their attempts. You can also try to rev up instigating your followers to who knows what, but if this leads to violence, you may be liable to be charged with a crime.

I didn’t see or hear your short speech yesterday from the White House, but I read and heard all about it. Along with the lies, accusations and claims that you won the election you seem to have forgotten your basic Civics lessons that we learned in 9th grade. I expected you would have reviewed your notes or at least listened to a podcast about how our Representative Democracy works. I wrote you a few days ago about re-reading the Constitution but I don’t think you or your sons, except maybe Barron because he is in high school and may be taking a class in American Government or Civics, has a clear idea on how our system of voting actually works. Don’t you know we are NOT a dictatorship, or monarchy or Fascist or Communist government? You don’t get to decide; the voters make those decisions and you need to accept that. I’m not saying that you need to be gracious, because I don’t think you can. Take a look at YouTube to see how President H.W Bush made his concession speech. You can also watch how President Jimmy Carter make his concession speech.

I am assigning the following actions: review how our system of voting works and write a concession speech as your homework assignments for the next few days.

The deadline for full credit will be Monday but the work may need to be turned in as early as tomorrow.

Dear Mr. President – November 5, 2020

November 5, 2020

Dear Mr. President,

Maybe now is not a good time to write to you. I hope you got some sleep because it’s been a grueling few days, weeks, months and a person has to get some rest. Tuesday night was definitely a night for no sleep, or poor sleep and as a result, yesterday everyone was exhausted. I slept better last night and so did some of my friends and family, but we are all still tuckered out from, well you know. I can’t even imagine how you and your family and friends are doing. I read that you didn’t go to the Oval Office yesterday and there are no public events on today’s schedule either, so it seems that the wheels of government are working like those new driverless cars. We have to have faith that everything will work okay.

As I write to you, we still don’t have a final count for the votes and so we don’t know for sure, the outcome of the election. It’s a weird place to be and I wish I had some advice or ideas on how you could stay calm, but I don’t think that is possible. I told you before Election Day that I was planning on taking long walks, eating healthy food, talking with friends and baking brownies. I did eat a great salad and a great walk, but the brownies are gone. I read that on Election Night you had a large crowd over to watch the returns and you fed them sliders and fries! Late at night? No wonder you couldn’t sleep.

I promise to write to you tomorrow, but I have a request for you today. Would you, could you, in your role as Comforter in Chief as well as President of the United States, remind everyone to take deep breaths, be proud of how many of us voted, follow our Constitution and the laws of the states on how they count the ballots, and, most importantly, respect the outcome?

That would be great.

Dear Mr. President – November 3, 2020

November 3, 2020

AKA Voting Day in the United States of America

Dear Mr. President,

Here we are! It’s a beautiful day in Michigan! I plan on taking a long walk, enjoying the last of the leaves, and maybe baking some brownies. How will you spend the day? The headlines in the NYTImes are “Anxiety Mounts With Race At A Bitter End”. I and so many people I know, have felt that way for a while. During these last 7 or so months, I’ve tried to offer some ideas and actions to calm the anxiety. So far, it doesn’t seem that you have taken me up on any of my ideas, but it has worked for me. Walking, eating good healthy food (chickpea burgers- delicious), visiting on Zoom with friends, checking in with other humans, and offering help to others. Due to being old (NOT), and cautious, my husband and I have stayed pretty isolated in our little pod, wear masks when we are out and about (we aren’t locked up) and found ways to enjoy each other’s company but also have some alone time. We now call each other “Podner” and every outing to the store is called “a date”.

But here we are on Election Day. We voted, our adult children voted, their in-laws voted, my 96 year -old dad voted, our friends voted and so did most of the people I know on Facebook. I love voting and have always voted in person but this year I picked up the ballot at the City Clerk’s office, filled it out at home and returned it to the Drop Box at the City Clerk’s office. It was easy, safe and I felt proud to fulfill my civic duty. You have complained about how so many citizens are voting this year and would like everyone to return to voting in person. I remember when the voting booth had a little curtain which you pulled to give you privacy, you checked the boxes for the names of the people you wanted and then pulled the lever again. It was such a satisfying sound. I miss that, but, like many other “modernizations”, I find new ways of doing things are also meaningful and satisfying. After all, some of the greatest inventions have made life easier, more convenient and safer. Think of safety features in cars, ordering food on- line, and indoor toilets.

My favorite anti-anxiety effort for the past few days has been paying attention to the music in my head. The song, “One Day” by Matisyahu, is constantly playing and I’ve been swaying and dancing to it. But, today, I woke up to a different song playing in my head that will probably reverberate all day. It’s a song I think we learned in music class in elementary school, but I’m not sure. It’s called “I Like it Here” by Alec Wilder, music and William Engvick, lyrics, in 1961. This is the first verse, “I like the United States of America, I like the way we all live without fear, I like to vote for my choice, speak my mind, raise my voice, yes, I like it here.”

So, take a deep breath, wait for all the votes to be counted, accept the results (I have written to you about good sportsmanship) and let’s move forward.

Dear Mr. President – November 1, 2020

November 1, 2020

Dear Mr. President,

Today is El Dia De Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday celebrated in Mexico. Although it sounds a bit macabre, it is a day to gather with friends and family to remember and pray for the souls of those who have died. People usually visit the graves but this year the cemeteries in Mexico are closed, due to the pandemic. Alternative plans will still make it possible to honor the meaning of the day and some of the traditions but without the large group gatherings. Maybe some of us in the United States can try some new ways of giving thanks for what we do this Thanksgiving. There are no actions saying we can’t eat turkey or watch a football game, but we probably shouldn’t have the entire family, or all of our friends join us in person. We will also need to think about new rituals to help those mourning the deaths of family, friends, jobs, and in person school. Perhaps you can get your event planning team on this?

Rituals are wonderful ways to give meaning and structure to our lives. This year marked the 5th time several hundred people participated in an event known as Limmud Michigan. Although this year it was on- line with Zoom, the sense of belonging, learning, singing together and all the emotional support people get from seeing each other and participating was still palpable. I know it has given me food for thought and energy. Specifically, I wanted to share some of the music we need at this time. Jacob Spike Krause, a teacher and cantor, was the musical leader who thoughtfully shared 3 powerful songs. The first, Kol Ha’Olam Kulo (Hebrew for the Whole Entire World), is based on a saying attributed to the Hassidic Master, Nachman of Breslov. The saying is “The whole entire world is a very narrow bridge and the main thing is to have no fear at all.” What a wonderful way to give us courage in these difficult times.The second song we shared was “One Day”. I absolutely love this song as it is an “anthem of hope”, according to Matisyahu, a reggae/alt rock singer who recorded it. Here are the words of the chorus; “All my life I’ve been waiting for, I’ve been praying for, For the people to say that , We don’t wanna fight no more, there will be no more wars and our children will play, One Day (6x).

There was a verse of this song that I thought might be of use to you. “It’s not about Win or lose, ‘cause we all lose when they feed on the souls of the innocent, blood-drenched pavement” and goes on to say “in this maze you can lose your way. It might drive you crazy but don’t let it faze you, no way.” Please check it out on YouTube or look up Koolulam singing “One Day” on YouTube. It’s fantastic and gives us hope that one day things will be better.

The final song was one written by Cantor Marcia Attie , specifically for this time of troubles. It’s called “Heart of Mine” and it speaks to the love we have for one another. Here are the words to the chorus: “Walls are coming down (3x), Life is going ‘round (3x), Loving will be found (3x), It’s all inside of you”. The next few days and maybe weeks, will test us all. These songs with their themes of courage, hope and love have cheered me up and I hope they do the same for you.